Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Tactical Header!

So, Black Ops. I went into Tesco yesterday on my way back from work fully expecting to find empty shelves, lathered with the grease from Doritos bags and the cold dew which forms on new cans of coke. To be honest, thats exactly what I found - a great black display with nothing but a few copies of the Wii version and a rather sorry PC version, not a PS3 one in sight.

Its probably for the best, I've mentally invested the next few months into maxing out my Hall of Monuments for Guild Wars. That won't stop me checking again on my way home today.

Lo' and behold the oldest of old video game chestnuts was wheeled out this morning on BBC news. Do video games make children violent? And, furthermore, are they addictive? Now, I must tell myself that these are the kinds of stories which are rolled out every once in a while and that they rarely hold any purchase amongst those with half a brain. But still, theres the niggling little bit in my mind which goes: HOLD UP!

These arguements see gamers as braindead slaves to colourful objects, twitching in the corner of a darkened room with a can of red bull in one hand, and a strangled kitten in the other. Now, I'm not saying this isn't the case for some - but what I am saying is that isn't it rather patronising to assume that people cannot make the fundamental separation between what is real and what is virtual? Between what is right and what is wrong?

For the most part, I believe that games are escapism, they allow you to live lives which you would never be able to live in the real world. It is behind this veil of anonymity that a lot of people find the release they would not in real life and it is something they enjoy. So, having escaped from the real world - why on earth would we want to drag our pure online lives into real life for them to be tainted and spoiled by "reality"?

You do not see Mario fans going out and jumping on turtles, or getting themselves lodged into drainage pipes. Admittedly, often gamers will grow facial hair like Mario, but more often than not it will migrate south of the chin rather than forming a manly mo'. Video games are an easy target for people who do not understand that it takes more than a few pixels exploding in red to make a person into a killer - it takes social degradation, alienation, emotional distress and neglect. If we find a rise in violent crime, perhaps there is something more fundamental to examine in society, rather than the games we play?

One of the most infuriating of all the statements made against video games is that kids "waste their life away in front of the machine" - I say, if you enjoy something, then do it, and who are these people to tell their children what they should and shouldn't enjoy?

But yes, I must remind myself again of the hacknied nature of this arguement. The dead horse is well over-flogged, chestnut well old, etc. Just a quote for your interest:

"Dancing, is, for the most part, attended with many amorous smiles, wanton compliments, unchaste kisses, scurrilous songs and sonnets, effeminate music, lust provoking attire, ridiculous love pranks, all which savor only of sensuality, of raging fleshly lusts. Therefore, it is wholly to be abandoned of all good Christians.

Dancing serves no necessary use, no profitable, laudable, or pious end at all. It is only from the imbred pravity, vanity, wantonness, incontenency, pride, profaneness, or madness of man's depraved nature. Therefore, it must needs be unlawful unto Christians.
The way to heaven is too steep, too narrow for men to dance in and keep revel rout. No way is large or smooth enough for capering rousters, for jumping, skipping, dancing dames but that broad, beaten, pleasant road that leads to HELL. The gate of heaven is too narrow for whole rounds, whole troops of dancers to march in together."
Histriomastix (1632), Puritan William Prynne

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